Put on Your Thinking Cap and Learn for Free with OCW

How do we spend our time online?  We can catch up with friends via email or Facebook, shop (my personal favorite), catch up on the news, do research, reserve our library books, watch videos, pay some bills, take a defensive driving class, and a multitude of other activities.  We can also get A LOT smarter, as there is a world of free online learning right at our fingertips.

Most obvious but often overlooked is YouTube.  Yes there is a lot of silly stuff out there, but also a lot of good stuff.  YouTube is my favorite source to find out how to do something, for instance how to zest a lemon or teach a dog to skateboard.  However, did you know that YouTube has an Education category where you can watch lectures from Harvard and MIT?  For instance you can watch all 23 hours of 24 lectures from MIT’s Intro to Psychology from the Fall of 2011 if that interests you.

Open Courseware (OCW) is course material created by universities and shared freely via the Internet.  You can find some of it on YouTube, as in the prior example.  Note that you can’t get any credits, certificates or degrees from OCW.  Typically there is no enrollment or registration, you just go to the site and learn!

MIT OpenCourseWare,  http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm encompasses MIT course materials that reflect almost all the undergraduate and graduate subjects taught at MIT – choose from a mind-boggling 2100 courses.  You can find Notre Dame’s Open Courseware at  http://ocw.nd.edu.  Explore that hankering of yours for  architecture,  aeronautics, environmental engineering, or theater arts for instance – the list is almost endless.

Of course (no pun intended) you can do your own search to find OCW,  or check out the following resources to find some free online learning opportunities:

http://opencourseware.us

http://www.statestats.org

http://www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses.

Enjoy, and happy learning!

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